Come On Get Happy
Are your employees happy? Depends who you ask. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2012 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Research Report, 81 percent of U.S. employees reported some level of satisfaction with their current job. That’s encouraging (though it’s been trending steadily downward from 86 percent satisfaction in 2009), but other 2012 surveys have reached less optimistic conclusions—a Right Management study referenced in the Forbes.com article “New Survey: Majority of Employees Dissatisfied,” for example, cited just 35 percent employee satisfaction.
Results vary survey to survey, but whether the number is 81 percent, 35 percent or somewhere in between, one thing is clear: There’s a good chance at least some of your employees aren’t happy. And when employees aren’t happy, they’re more likely to underperform, quit altogether or succumb to your competitors’ recruitment efforts.
So, what should you do to keep your employees happy? You could build a mini-golf course in the conference room, install a beer-vending machine in the cafeteria or libel your competitors with a vicious smear campaign, but those things may not be practical (or legal). Or, you could check out the following tips on how to retain your top talent (sales and otherwise) and keep potential poachers at bay.
1. START WITH THE HIRING PROCESS
An oft-overlooked part of retaining employees is making sure you have the right people to begin with, and that starts with the hiring process. Especially in regard to sales positions, make sure new hires know what to expect from the industry, and that their goals are in line with those of your company. “Years ago we would hire literally hundreds of people a year, a lot of salespeople inexperienced to our industry, or experienced salespeople who had some background experience from other industries, but not [our] industry experience,” said Chris Vernon, MAS, president of The Vernon Company, Newton, Iowa. “And like a lot of companies, about 10 to 15 years ago we went away from that because the turnover was huge, probably in the 80 [percent] to 85 percent range for a year or 18 months out.”